Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #169, August 1991: Arnold’s Back to Back

Starlog knows how to spot ‘em, sometimes. Sensing that Terminator 2: Judgment Day would be a big hit, the editors put T2 on the cover of the August issue, just as it was on the cover of the July issue. It even features the same character from the same movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. (If the movie can be T2, can we just call Arnold’s character T? I suppose so, though then people might start calling him Mr. T, which would just be disastrous.)

Starlog also has a horse in this race. This issue it announces that it’s publishing the official T2 licensed movie magazine. $4.95, all color and 68 pages (if I remember correctly). I’m just guessing that it will make a ton of money for the company.

Few people thought the studio would recoup the then-record $100 million cost of producing the film, but of course T2 went on to become a smash hit and just the latest in a long line of James Cameron near-death career experiences.

Starlog #169
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

Interesting, this: This issue’s cover price is $4.95, the same as the previous issue, which was the extra-pages anniversary edition. Is it a permanent cover price hike? No, but oddly several issues will carry this new cover price, after which the cover price will drop back down to $4.50 and the page count will drop again from 84 to 80. Why the price spike? Was it a trial to see if readers were willing to page $5 for a copy of the magazine? Was it an attempt to get some greater lucre from the summer film-going season? Who knows?

The rundown: The Schwarzemeister’s on the cover, again; meanwhile, Doctor Who’s Sophie Aldred is featured on the contents page; in the Communications section, Star Trek Research Consultant Richard Arnold responds to previous letters on Star Trek, a reader responds to Richard Arnold’s letter (no, not this one, but rather Arnold’s letter in Starlog #161), and other readers comment on Star Trek games, scripts, and more, thus giving Mr. Arnold a reason to write a third letter, if he's up to it, plus Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile comic features Them!; in his Medialog column, David McDonnell notes that the previously announced Starlog: The Science Fiction Universe television project is “on hold”; in his Videolog column, David Hutchison announces Woody Allen’s Alice, Edward Scissorhands, and other genre releases; and the Fan Network pages include Lia Pelosi’s directory of fan clubs and publications, plus the convention calendar.

The great writer Roald Dahl is interviewed by Tom Soter, and he discusses working on two adaptations of Ian Fleming works: You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (and he has some pretty tough words for Sean Connery, who he thinks got too full of himself when he decided to walk away from the Bond role: “He was a very foolish fellow to get bored by Bond because it made him. ... I don’t think Sean behaved very well on this film. ... No, I don’t think Sean Connery’s a complicated creature at all. he’s an absolutely straightforward, rather dull Scotsman.”); in a two-page Tribute section, Marc Shapiro writes actor Kevin Peter Hall’s obituary, Kim Howard Johnson does the honors for James Bond titles designer Maurice Binder, and Ian Spelling remembers writer and lyricist Howard Ashman (The Little Mermaid); and Kerry O’Quinn’s From the Bridge relates his injury and surgery after crashing his motorcycle (which he discussed pre-crash in #167).

Marc Shapiro interviews Terminator 2: Judgment Day actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admits that "acting out the action stuff and the ballsy parts was not a difficult thing for me to do. The most difficult scenes were the ones where I had to respond to questions or rattle off dialogue and come across as believable as a machine”; Bill Warren talks with veteran actor Alan Arkin, who discusses The Rocketeer, as well as The Seven-Percent Solution, The Return of Captain Invincible, and other films; Warren also visits the set of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Kyle Counts checks in with screenwriter Joe Gannon about Solar Crisis, a film he wrote but that was then drastically rewritten by others; David Hirsch profiles composer Gerald Fried about his work on the original Star Trek TV series; John B. McLay examines new original Doctor Who novels; in “Tenctonese Funnies,” Edward Gross previews the new comic books based on the canceled Alien Nation television series; Peter Weller exits the metal copsuit and is replaced by actor Robert Burke for RoboCop 3, the set of which Kim Howard Johnson visits; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column touts various new releases from the wonderful world of Starlog magazines, including the aforementioned Terminator 2: Judgement Day Official Movie Magazine, which includes designs and production illustrations “you may not see published anywhere else. Truly amazing!”
“When I first heard the primary notion that some part of the movie [Solar Crisis] would take place inside the Sun, my heart sank. I love science fiction, but I love science fiction that’s based on degrees of reality, even if that reality is warped in some way. My first feeling was that this [plotline] was so implausible, you could never really bring the audience with you, as it were. But then, as I thought about it, I realized it was implausible, but not impossible. In that distinction, I found I could believe in the story.”
–Joe Gannon, screenwriter, interviewed by Kyle Counts: “Flare-Up”
To see more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit The Starlog Project’s permanent home.

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